Almost a century after its dedication, the historic J.M. Weatherwax High School in Aberdeen, Washington, built in 1909, burned to the ground. After the fire, city officials in this coastal town salvaged as many of the old sandstone construction blocks as they could, though they had no end goal in mind. The large blocks had been part of the original building’s elegant façade. They were stacked up and unused for years.
A decade later, artist Adam Kuby transformed the stones into an integrated earthwork that resembles a large, cresting wave. Sited along one of the town’s main thoroughfares, Breaker (2013) incorporates all of the available sandstone from the old building in a 64-foot-long, scroll-shaped sculpture. Four largescale ornamental stones were strategically used to form the top of the wave. At night, LED lights illuminate the piece, highlighting subtle forms, shapes, and shadows.
The piece is meant to honor the “ordinary people” who built the original structure—and to inspire future generations to similar feats of creativity and craftsmanship. The majestic work is a visual link between the city’s past and future.